You are off on an extraordinary trip
You have an appointment at the foot of the Old Swedish Parliament House (Gamla Riksdagen) on the island of Riddarholmen. The imposing 19th century building, steeped in history, is worth a detour. For this unique visit, head for the attics, where the guides will be waiting for you. From there, you set off on a tour of over one hour across the rooftops of the old city. You will need to wear a pair of sturdy trainers, at least in the summer, as in winter you will need some really warm shoes as well as some ski pants. Then a harness and a helmet are de rigueur for every participant in this excursion reserved for adults and teenagers. If you are not used to this type of equipment, you will of course be assisted. All accessories – telephones especially – are carefully put away in closed pockets, while cameras are attached twice. At a height of 50 m, it is better to prevent any objects falling!
The guides, who are professional mountaineers, will explain to you how this unusual excursion will proceed and give you essential and necessary advice on safety. They will also fill you in on the history of the buildings you encounter en route. Everything is now ready. You are about to explore Stockholm from its rooftops. The adrenaline is rising!
Gamla Riksdagen (Old Parliament House)
111 28 Stockholm
The Nordic show begins
Your first steps are hesitant. In fact, few people are accustomed to moving around in this sort of environment. Just like a scout leader, the first guide shows the way. Everything is done in complete safety, and the second guide who brings up the rear makes sure of this. You have to stay focused and calm as the route is fairly narrow. For that matter, it is more like a metal gangway than a path! Luckily, you are firmly held by the safety line to which you are connected by your harness.
After a few minutes, you can really appreciate the landscapes and viewpoints, which, at this height change considerably. It is difficult to realise that you are walking across the rooftops of houses and official buildings: you are treading across the Administrative Court of Stockholm! The buildings reveal architecture and volumes unknown until now. On the other side of a tower, large circular windows reflect a superb view of Riddarholmen Church, a former abbey built in the 14th century where the majority of Swedish monarchs are buried. A few more steps to climb and you have the surprise of a unique panorama over the old city and four other islands. The colours of the rooftops and the facades change with the sunlight, and water is everywhere… Opposite, you can see Slussen and Sodermalm. This ancient poor neighbourhood made of wooden shacks, which the king did not hesitate to burn down in the event of misbehaviour, is today the haunt of the city's arty and trendy crowd. At the meeting point of these two islands and under a network of three bridges, the Baltic Sea gives way to Lake Mälaren, one of the largest in the country.
Next, you descend a little and enjoy a more intimate view of backstreets steeped in centuries of urban history. Over there is a slate roof and a beautiful gabled dwelling, here a small clock tower, and further off in the distance is the port. Would you like to immortalise these exceptional moments? Platforms are provided for this purpose so you can stop and take a few photos at your leisure, while the guide gives you some cultural background.
Riddarholmskyrkan (Riddarholmen Church)
107 70 Stockholm
+46 8 402 61 30
Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen (Supreme Administrative Court)
Birger Jarls torg 13
111 28 Stockholm
+46 8 561 676 00
An unforgettable adventure
Everything happens in a spirit of cheerfulness. Time passes slowly as the aim is not to go quickly but to make the most of each view, as a unique composition which only you are looking at. In the distance, you spy the statue on top of the current Swedish parliament building… from the back! An unexpected view when you know that a chimney had initially been constructed to hide this view of “ Mother Svea”, an allegory for the Swedish nation. In winter, the snow creates an unreal atmosphere, with the white of the roofs, the cloudy sky and the uniformly grey sea. You observe the red bricks of the City Hall, often covered in a fine layer of snow. Every December, the building hosts the Nobel Prize ceremony. Nearby, a museum has even been created, so that you can learn about all the brilliant prize winners. In the fine weather, flashes of sunlight play across the facades and the settings become even more joyous. Each season has its own colour palette, and its own beauty.
Whatever the time of year, watch out for the wind which blows at altitude. When you have finished the tour, you will no longer see Stockholm as you did before, and you will not be able to stop raising your eyes skywards, to the rooftops which you were strolling across like a tightrope walker just a few minutes ago. And if you have enjoyed your adventure in the capital, you can repeat the experience in Sundsvall, Upsala and Gothenburg.
Stockholm City Hall
111 52 Stockholm
Takvandring Rooftop Tours
111 28 Stockholm
+46 8-22 30 05
Riksdag (Swedish Parliament)
100 12 Stockholm
+46 8 786 40 00
Nobelmuseet (Nobel Museum)
103 16 Stockholm
+46 (0)8 534 818 00